Saturday, April 30, 2011


Civil and Human Rights

Civil rights and human rights are not the same thing. Civil rights are bestowed upon its citizens by state authorities; human rights are internationally recognized rights inherent to all human beings.

Equality is a good thing, and with it comes the possibility of humane, democratic initiatives. But equal access to opportunity under a Free Market system merely enables one to profit from the oppression of others—hardly what one would call progress in any progressive sense.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Defeating the Free Market

As the energy and mineral extraction industries move into the final phase of wasting creation, indigenous governance remains an obstacle to unimpeded greed. Guarding indigenous governance, then, becomes more than a human rights or environmental concern. In essence, protecting indigenous nations from the relentless onslaught by the Free Market is now a key element in the survival of humankind.

Defeating the Free Market thus becomes an imperative for indigenous networks and their anti-globalization allies.

With the acceleration of Free Market attacks on health and education worldwide, institutional enemies of indigenous governance within the US, EU, and UN -- while generating millions of new adversaries -- remain formidable foes. How the world indigenous peoples' movement proceeds against these foes is a matter of grave concern.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Free Market Media

Writing for Religion Dispatches, University of Florida Religion and Nature professor Bron Taylor discusses International Mother Earth Day, and the attack on indigenous spirituality by the Free Market media flagship Fox News.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Free Market Violence

As a species, community is integral to our health and well-being. The disintegration of community — especially among indigenous peoples — due to Free Market violence, poses a significant obstacle to healing from previous traumas. As we seek means of reintegrating community, we will simultaneously be dealing with new traumas associated with ongoing Free Market violence. Unless we end this violence, we will not be able to cope with these disorders.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Plantation Politics

As Kanya D'Almeida reports, the new US model of reconstruction for Haiti is the urban sweatshop industrial park theme previously used to profitable effect in U.S. protectorates and territories.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Struggle or Surrender

Earlier generations made sacrifices battling the symptoms of greed, gaining concessions to human dignity, yet leaving in tact the sociopathic system. We now know, however, that the institutions of greed themselves must be conquered if we are to survive. Defeating these institutions that deny us the ability to live decent lives is our greatest challenge.

The private equity system, amassed by greed over many generations, is a formidable foe. It controls our governments, our economies, our lives. Freeing ourselves from its relentless grip requires sacrifices yet unimagined.

As leading humanitarians have noted, this sacrifice is not optional; we will either vanquish greed as the dominant value, or our children will experience horrendous misery and suffering. Indeed, the suffering has already begun. Soon, many more of us will be faced with the choice of struggle or surrender.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


A Peaceful Heart

Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons once said nature has no mercy, meaning what goes around comes around. Poisoning the planet poisons us.

Chief Lyons went on to relate that the values that underpin the economic system of wasting creation have to change, or humankind will perish. As such, Lyons noted, leadership will not come from institutions founded on this system, but rather must come from young people fighting for their lives and their future.

The values Chief Lyons and other elders from indigenous nations speak of are related to the values that undergird the environmental and peace movements. As Lyons notes, the winds of change sweeping through our hearts and minds are the voices of our ancestors, who for millions of years revered the sacred gifts of creation. Surviving the changes to come, he says, requires courage and commitment, and most of all, a peaceful heart.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Between the Lines

Upside Down World interviews Marie-Monique Robin, author of Death Squadrons and Our Daily Poison. In her research on these topics -- both made into documentary films -- Robin revealed that the National Security Doctrine, applied to the Southern Cone by the U.S. State Department and CIA, had its roots in the French School, which served as the model for the School of the Americas, where crimes against humanity are taught by U.S. Special Forces.

In the second part of the interview, Robin discusses the epidemics of cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and reproductive fertility issues rising from industrial chemical farming in the developed world. Without getting into the food security aspects of monoculture, Robin makes it clear that our present worries over the world population explosion of the last half century will likely be overshadowed by pandemics associated with toxic food production.

Although the interview limits itself to brief responses, it isn't hard to read between the lines, foreseeing a future where global starvation, disease, and covert military operations combine to significantly reduce the world population, at the cost of public health and human dignity.

Friday, April 22, 2011


No Change

2012 presidential candidate Barack Obama is beginning to resemble his idol Ronald Reagan more every day. Repeating the same old lines about hope and change, patronizing his vapid supporters with bromides, all the while ruining millions of American families and murdering millions of people worldwide who stand in the way of Wall Street's greed.

Sure, Obama is just a performing parrot mouthing the lines he was taught by his benefactors, but aren't all Wall Street functionaries like that? Just doing his job.

Still, letting Obama off because of his self-deprecating nature, or because he consistently hits his lines with a smile, seems like a poor excuse given the human misery he has had a hand in creating. In the end, he's no better or worse than any other politician who sold his soul for fame and fortune.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


On Our Bones

Political theatre won't end because of the Wikileaks exposure of systematic fraud at the highest levels of government and business, but at least we'll know it's theatre. Changing the system that rewards thievery requires that we at least know that much. Otherwise, people who might become involved in opposing the tyranny of Wall Street might remain compliant.

Knowing that the planned thievery will continue to be supported by pundits, politicians and activists funded by Wall Street, the question is what can and will those being robbed do about it. Most, of course, will do nothing but complain privately. Some will organize public displays of contempt, but the thievery and theatre will go on.

While thieving politicians come and go through the Wall Street/White House/Congress revolving door, the masters of theft and theatre remain. Until they are defeated, the system they devised will feed on our bones.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Fighting the National Security State

At first glance, the dearth of web discussion on fighting the national security state in the US would seem to indicate that nothing is going on. That somehow, despite economic ruin and social collapse caused by the largest fraud in the history of the country, citizens young and old have nothing to say.

This, of course, is preposterous. Having been deprived of a decent life by the bipartisan collusion with America's aristocracy, Americans are outraged and terrified. They just don't have a clue what to do.

Those few who do, like the young veterans and peace activists rounded up by the FBI in preemptive arrests preceding the 2008 National Democratic and Republican Conventions, now know that freedom of expression no longer exists in the United States. Most of those arrested for planning to protest U.S. imperialism were identified by intercepted e-mail, phone wiretaps, and undercover agents whose job it is to criminalize dissent.

In this situation, effective pro-democracy organizing has to take seriously the threat from national security agencies. Showing their hand online is the quickest way to land in a prison cell.

It would be a mistake, of course, to refrain from organizing against the criminal depravity of our federal government. We simply need to be more circumspect in how we go about it.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Making Amends

As Bolivia's foreign minister observes, everything today is in crisis because our lives are out of balance. In order to achieve harmony, he notes, indigenous knowledge must be heard and respected. After being forced down wrong roads by Europeans for five centuries, Bolivia's indigenous peoples are recovering their principles, values and codes. Those codes hold the key for restoring balance, but their success hinges on the willingness of European peoples to make amends for the crises they have caused, a question that has yet to be sufficiently answered and acted upon.


Speier Takes on Pentagon

According to Bay Area Congresswoman Jackie Speier, the main obstacle to justice in the US military is the Pentagon. With nearly twenty thousand rapes per year by fellow armed forces personnel, the cover-up of this crisis by the Pentagon not only systematically destroys lives, it actively perpetuates the impunity where victims are punished and perpetrators are promoted. Speier is committed to ending this injustice, but one still has to ask what it is about the military that leads to such human rights abuses, and more importantly, what militarization of society does to human values.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Organizing Energy

Some of my best friends are political researchers and educators. A few of them make a living at this, but most are volunteers.

While I once did research and used it for popular educational purposes, my forte was organizing--bringing motivated people together for a common purpose. Often I used research to inspire others to become motivated and active. Thus many of our community actions were effective in changing the way political business was done.

As our society falls apart, the hunger for authentic leadership will grow. Since that usually comes in the form of organizers operating outside the system, resources required to sustain organizing will need to come from supporters outside the established philanthropy industry.

Keeping the energy flowing that organizing involves means abandoning false hopes and false models offered as distractions by financial system gamers and other elitists hoping to keep the system in play. That energy will need to be replaced by people once accustomed to pocketbook diplomacy as their means of charity. Serious public interest organizers simply don't come in that package.

Absent a sweeping revolution in public consciousness, genuine organizers will continue to find the path they've chosen a hardship, and most will fade from fatigue. The few that remain steadfast will do so because their communities recognize them for the treasures they are, despite the massed communication efforts to disparage their reputations, values and ideals. When they start holding rummage sales and bake sales for organizers, we'll know we're finally getting somewhere.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Between Governance and Genocide

On March 25, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a hearing on the subject of indigenous jurisdiction arising in Andean states. As the international human rights regime explores legal pluralism within internationally recognized states, instruments like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO 169 continue to guide the discussion on how to fully implement human rights, including jurisdictional authority of indigenous nations marginalized by the market system. Adopting mechanisms that guarantee indigenous sovereignty is sometimes all that stands between governance and genocide.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Time on Their Hands

It used to be that when there were no jobs, young people could go to college or graduate school to prepare themselves to take advantage of future opportunities. Then, if nothing panned out right away after getting their degrees, they could always volunteer with non-profit agencies to gain work experience that would enhance their resumes.

Now days, with no jobs, no prospects, and dwindling openings for volunteers, taking on student loans doesn't make much sense for a lot of kids. Unless they plan on being doctors, lawyers or politicians, the odds of prospering from higher education are slim to none.

Watching the tuition for state schools here nearly double in the last few years, a lot of young adults are opting out of attending college, and with no jobs, they have a lot of time on their hands. Given this deteriorating scenario, it's no surprise that some with research and computer skills have decided to do something useful by attacking the corporations and politicians who caused this crisis. Maybe there's a message in all this.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011



I recently received a note from a colleague in Ireland who promoted the concept of meitheal (cooperative learning) for use in higher education. Having proven its worth through steadily improved student satisfaction and performance, the professor challenged competitive models introduced by corporate benefactors attempting to impose their will on the university. While he has had setbacks due to the onslaught of globalization, he clearly demonstrated that when creating community is a core value, the resulting synergy fosters resilience.

Cultivating creativity, communication and cooperation, while an ancient Irish tradition, is thus applicable to the modern world in fundamental ways. Celebrating the genius of the group, whether indigenous or not, is a means of motivating and inspiring young people at a time when corruption and other destructive values threaten our very existence. Providing learning environments where cooperation is core gives them something to hold on to.

In the face of accelerating change due to globalization, meitheal functions as an adaptive self-organizing organism. If we build it, they will come.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Operation Want

Anonymous, an online confederation of free speech, internet freedom, and freedom of information activists, takes on NASDAQ and the Swedish elite behind the Wikileaks smear campaign.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Black Agenda

In the 1960s, I attended public schools with a large negro student body, and remember the tensions as we all transformed along with the Civil Rights Movement. Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford recalls April 1968, when he was an eighteen year old black kid in the 82nd Airborne the day Dr. King was assassinated.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Mind Games

As Rudolph Ryser observes in his report on the UN climate protocols conference in Bangkok, the US, UK, and EU continue to play mind games over the human rights of indigenous peoples. Despite the fact that the most significant progress in the UN human rights regime -- since it was instituted as international law in 1948 -- was the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, these colonial and imperial powers are now arguing before the UN Human Rights Council that these are not human rights.

While it is no secret that Canada and the US blocked human rights for indigenous peoples for decades in order to continue plundering their territories for natural resources with impunity, it is not widely known that the EU is an important ally of these rogue states. Even as pariahs like China, Nigeria, and Indonesia routinely murder indigenous activists within their own borders, US and European states and corporations often help fund these atrocities.

With the evolution of the US-controlled NATO into the enforcement arm of the UN, human rights are in danger of becoming what the Pentagon and U.S. State Department say they are--a situation that must be stopped. As Dr. Ryser notes, the only way for indigenous peoples to survive this attack by Western powers is to prohibit unpermitted entry into their territories by corporations and militaries alike.

Monday, April 04, 2011


About Time

Keen observers of American history are not surprised by the current White House and Congress plans to slash Social Security and Medicare. After all, the United States was founded on theft.

The tens of millions of US citizens who lost their homes, jobs and pensions in the 2008 heist by Goldman Sachs, now face a retirement reminiscent of Medieval Europe. In an individualistic society built on greed, these masses of suffering souls may not yet view themselves as comrades in arms against the American aristocracy and their minions, but the day will soon come when they realize this is a war, not a policy discussion.

Senior citizens and their disabled allies may not seem like a formidable foe of Wall Street and the federal government, but with time on their hands, and millions of unemployed in the same boat, the only thing lacking is community organizing. Once these disgruntled victims of hypocrisy realize diversions like voting and public interest lobbying are not going to do the trick, all hell could break loose.

Friday, April 01, 2011


From the Ruins

While the global anti-war protests that took place in early 2003 rejected the projection of economic power through military warfare, the European anti-austerity protests this winter rejected the projection of economic power through political warfare. The protests in North Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East this spring reject both.

Unlike the 2003 protests, which sometimes included civil disobedience, the more recent ones include acts of sabotage, as well as armed insurrection against tyrants functioning as proxies for world economic powers. Protests in Latin America against austerity imposed by international economic powerhouses like the IMF and World Bank over the last decade have incorporated massive strikes, while in North America, comparatively tame consumer boycotts of goods made with child or slave labor have made some inroads into transforming our otherwise privileged consciousness.

As civilizations and societies succumb to the aftershocks of austerity, including collapsing public health and safety, the world will routinely become more chaotic, violent, and dysfunctional. At that not so distant point in time, we will have to find new ways of discussing and building a future from the ruins.

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